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A Season of Prayer

St. Mary’s Rectory
December 30th, 2018

Dear Friends,

    The Lord has sent this message to every land:
    ‘Tell the people of Israel, “Look, your King is coming,
    See he brings his reward with him as he comes.”’
    They will be called “The Holy People”
    and the People Redeemed by the Lord. Isaiah 62:11-12

As 2019 is now upon us, maybe we can begin by making a point of following Jesus more closely than ever, thus taking our faith to a new level.

Those of us in Highley have been following a month of lament, which in Tom’s words is ‘meant to bring God to the centre’. I hope this has been your experience.

But this is just a beginning. Advent has been a time for us all to look back on our faith journey in anticipation of the presence of the Christ, Emmanuel: God with us. As in many aspects of life, we should take the turn of the year to look back on the past and prepare for the one to come (or the One to come).

As we now look forward (for it is unhealthy to live in the past), where are we going? I believe amidst all the personal and corporate struggles we have in the Church and also as a nation, that there are good days ahead. I believe it not because I see evidence of it, but because I live by faith in a God who loves to see His people grow and to water dry and parched spiritual ground.

We live at a times in which, for all the technological breakthroughs, the wonders of science and the impact of the media, there is more loneliness than ever. People have lost the way to communicate genuinely with each other and have lost the greater narrative that involves a God who cares passionately for each one of us. The church is also in danger of losing its calling by trying to do the same things when the world around has moved on.

So, before we move on with more plans I believe we need to step forward gently into 2019 in prayer. There is more than enough to pray about, some of which, left in human hands, could be quite depressing. If you believe that the Christian’s first calling is to pray, to get to know your Saviour, to seek His will for your life and that of his church, then this is for you; but don’t expect it to be easy.

We begin two months of prayer on January 7th. We will try to reduce the number of other meetings going on and there will be no home groups during this time. You will see some of the access points overleaf - please make use of them, whether or not you are used to praying with others.  There will be a variety of approaches led by a variety of people. Enjoy the silences, enjoy the contemplation, enjoy the discoveries you will make when you commit yourself afresh to God’s purpose for you and the church as they emerge. My prayer is that this will set us up for ‘Holy Habits’ which will launch, God willing, in Lent.

Mike


Allsorts of topics for

Allsorts of Ladies of

Allsorts of Ages

First Tuesday of the Month

There is now a new programme, so watch this space.

7:30pm in the Parish Hall

 

March 6th - Craft

April 3rd - Elaine Moore Co Co

May 1st - Open the Book

June 5th - Outing

July 3rd - Sandra Harris (Buttonbury)



The Highley Forum is our parish magazine. It contains news and local articles. Only 50p an issue or a subscribe for £5 a year. Advertising space is also available to local businesses. For more details please contact the church office.


St. Mary's Church Building Repair

Following the 5 yearly inspection of St Mary’s Church Building, we have been given a list of work which needs to be done within the next 12-18 months. The estimated cost is in excess of £100 000. This is a huge challenge for our church and the village.

There has been a church in Highley for nearly 900 years. St Mary’s is the oldest building in the village still serving the community. We hope it will continue to do so for many more years to come.

There is no getting away from it, if we DON’T carry out the needed repairs to the Church Building, it WILL slowly crumble away. Even before it crumbles, it could be declared unsafe for use and that will mean no weddings, no christenings and no funeral services for Highley people, besides losing a place of quiet and worship. What a great loss to the community that would be. We believe that St. Mary’s is, and has always been, “Highley valued “.

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  • Porch floor – Damp
  • Porch SW corner – No drainage (Movement cracks in walling)
  • Interior walls – Rising damp
  • Tower roof – Slipped and missing tiles
  • Tower parapet gutter – Failed patch repair and decayed base
  • Porch Stonework – Damp decay aggravated by cement pointing
  • Tower roof – Split and decayed post

A recent survey has shown that we need to make urgent repairs to:

  • The Tower
  • Stone-work
  • Heating and Lighting
  • Drainage
  • Bells

All of this work has to be carried out by contractors, who are qualified to work on ancient buildings. When it comes to finances, the congregation has always covered the running costs of the Church, but there is nothing left over for repairs. We are in the process of applying for grants, but we have to raise a substantial amount to match these.


Fundraising

Thank you to everyone who has supported our fundraising events or made a donation!


As of September 2016 we have raised £39,000 towards the building repairs.

We have raised this through:

  • Quiz nights
  • A spare change jar
  • Sponsored walks - Part of the Severn Way (110miles) and The Bridgnorth Walk
  • Table top sales
  • An apple festival
  • Cake sales
  • A rummage sale
  • Collection of scrap gold
  • The sale of church history booklets
  • Coffee mornings
  • Commitment to additional monthly giving
  • Charity shop takings
  • A Charitable Trust Donation

We have several fundraising plan's for the future including:

  • A Pamper Evening
  • A request to the Parish Council and a local developer
  • An auction of promises
  • 'increase the gift'
  • A musical evening
  • A request to other St Mary's Churches across the UK
  • More grant funding applications